In 1989 Mark and Helen Johnson were asked to write a short nativity musical by the headteacher of the primary school where Helen was teaching. 'Off To Bethlehem' was a huge success and within months Mark and Helen were given the opportunity of leaving their jobs to explore and develop their gift in writing music. It was with a deep breath and a big step of faith that Mark and Helen went on to set up their own publishing and production company as a vehicle for distributing their songs to primary schools.
Helen recalls: 'Whilst reading the story about Noah and the flood, I was impressed by the task set before Noah - to fill the ark with "every creature that has the breath of life in it". What sparked our imagination was the notion of somehow containing the colour, energy, beauty and diversity of created life in a unique vessel, with a view to then releasing it into the next generation. This powerful image was to become our inspiration and the motivation for all our songs going into schools. Like Noah, we see our job as capturing and preserving all that is good - the breadth and diversity of life and the world around us - and passing it on through the medium of music'.
What began with only a tiny desk under the stairs, has grown over 25 years to become a thriving business, which now supplies over 18,000 primary schools and prep schools (not to mention nurseries, churches, theatre groups, etc!) across the UK and countless others around the world. With publishing offices and a warehouse in Middlesex, a recording studio in Sussex and with an associate office in Australia, 'Out Of The Ark' is reaching out to the corners of the earth with good, positive songs, that everyone will enjoy.
Out of the Ark Music was born out of a passionate belief that children deserve the very best.
Good songs leave a lasting impression and contain huge potential to make a difference to our lives. The importance of music and the arts cannot be emphasised enough and, though often overlooked, they are a vital part of our children's education.
Our goal is...
After 25 years and over 1,000 songs in the Out of the Ark catalogue, Mark and Helen are still enthusiastic about writing and are keen to develop the potential that music has in the context of education and beyond. They receive hundreds of wonderful letters and phone calls each year from those who have caught the vision and share the enthusiasm.
Out of the Ark Music - Primary School Music At Its Best